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Third-Hand Smoke

POSTED BY: FLorida Hospital Tampa

You’ve heard about second-hand smoke, but we’re now learning about the dangers of third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is nicotine residue from tobacco smoke that clings to hair, clothes, carpets, furniture and other objects indoors. It lingers for weeks or months and is considered a health hazard.

Inhaling, ingesting or skin contact with the residue exposes people to tobacco smoke’s 250 toxins, which include arsenic, cyanide and lead.

A recent study led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that nicotine in the residue reacts with the common indoor air pollutant nitrous acid to form tobacco-specific nitrosamines. These potent chemicals raise the cancer risk in anyone who inhales the substances or comes into contact with them.

Indoor ventilation does not eliminate third-hand smoke, nor does smoking outside. The residue clings to smokers and is spread when they go indoors, researchers say.

If you or a loved one is ready to quit smoking, learn about Smoking Cessation classes at Florida Hospital Tampa.